More About What We Do When the Tourists Go Home
A few years ago, an organization called Pathway Arts was formed by Marianne Goldberg as a way for local artist, writers, actors, dancers, musicians and other talented folks to feature share their work during the hum-drum months of winter. The idea was genious. The entire experience is free and is supported through donations. There’s an amazing sense of community at these events with total strangers introducing themselves to each other and artist interacting with attendees. In the early years, Marianne, would create appetizers and deserts that were passed through the audience as the artists making it feel more like you were gathered in someone’s home. This simple idea of creating a communial experience has taken off and Pathways now holds several events a week as well as workshops where creatives can collaborate. Sadly, Marianne passed away a few years ago but we’re sure she is smiling down on the little arts collaborative she created. Upcoming events include an “Alternate Strings Night” featuring string instruments that aren’t guitars, “We Dance” starts with performances by professional dancers followed by a DJ dance party and a poetry reading for established poets followed by a poetry open mic.
How About That Nor’easter
We’ve got lots of inquiries about how we survived. We are extremely fortunate to have next to no damage here at Edgartown Commons. A couple of fences need repair-which is extremely lucky. The island itself did a lot better than many costal communities in Massachusetts. The northeastern part of the island is actually 10-20 feet above the ocean, which helped keep the flooding to a minimum. We also know where that flooding is going to happen, so the buildings hit are built with that in mind. That being said, it was crazy and we saw flooding in placed that haven’t flooded in 25 years. We knew we were in trouble when the flooding started on Friday 3 hours before high tide. (We still have storm surge issues-3 days later) Dock Street in Edgartown was under water. New York Ave in Oak Bluffs was closed in front of the harbor because of giant waves crashing over the bulkhead IN THE HARBOR! Beach Road in Vineyard Haven was closed the entire length. And a crazy amount of trees came down.
These photos are around high tide on Saturday-a day later. Check out the photo of Edgartown harbor. All the docks are under water and so is the chappy ferry dock off in the distance. Thankfully we’re just having a “normal” stormy day here today. Crews are out cleaning up so by the time Spring rolls around, we’ll be just like a Service Master commercial and it’ll look “like it never happened.”
Helpful Hints for a Spring Getaway
The ol’ Lion and Lamb are waiting for their cue as February draws to a close which means it’s time to plan your Spring getaway to Martha’s Vineyard. Lodging is all set-you’ll stay with us, of course (wink, wink). But seriously, rates are extremely low for mid-week. But once you’re here, what can you do? Lots of the island’s favorite restaurants will be opening as spring approaches and there’s a great Facebook app to let you know who’ll be open and their hours. It’s called, appropriately, “What’s Open on Martha’s Vineyard.” They’ve already posted their 2018 list and will be adding to it as we get closer to “the season.” It’s also a great place to find out about special offers. Lots of places have off-season specials in the Spring and it’s a great way to try some great food without breaking the bank.
Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival treats summer visitors to great movies and events with their summer film series, but for those of us staring down the bleak cold and fog of late winter/early spring, MVFF throws us a lifeline in the form of a full-blown multi-day cinematic experience with their winter film festival. It’s standing room only at the Chilmark Community Center where the event is headquartered for a myrid of films, which will include “Chappaquiddick,” the new movie about the Kennedy accident back in the 60’s. The festival will also feature special guests, workshops, dinners, music and programs for children. This will be their 18th year and tickets sell out quickly. The event will be held March 15-18 and the lineup will be announced in early March.
Never Stop Learning
People are always asking for new and different activities they can do on the island. Like most cities and towns, MV has an adult education organization that can fit the bill and is something that most visitors don’t know about. ACE MV started a few years ago with a few classes and has expanded in a short time to now include professional certification and accreditted college courses. Why should you care? Well, there are also a lot of fun courses as well that are offered during the summer. They include discussions with authors, art instruction, water sports and cooking (they just offered a Valentine’s Cookie Baking Course-yum!). They also offer personal development, financial planning and physical fitness. One-time classes are a great way to do something fun when you’re here on vacation. Keep an eye on their website for listings here.
Mark Your Calendars
We love that our friends at Morning Glory Farm have complied a list of key event dates for 2018-(mostly because we can just link to it instead of doing it ourselves). Check them out and then give us a call to make a reservation!
“No Weenies” The 20 Miler
There are no shortages of races or athletic events on Martha’s Vineyard, but this one is unofficially the most bad-ass. The 20 Miler happens here every February in some of the toughest weather conditions a runner might see. Below freezing temperatures? Sure. Pelting ice? You bet. Icy artic ocean winds? Absolutely. This race goes out of its way to ensure that all the conditions runners hate are in full force. Oh, and on top of that, there’s that whole 20 mile thing. For most people who just read this, the natural next thought is “Who the hell would want to do that?” Well, last year 500 intrepid (or unbalanced-make your own judgement here) runners participated. In fact, the race regularly sells out. It starts at the Steamship terminal and hugs the waterfront all the way from Vineyard Haven to Edgartown where warm ocean breezes gently greet each runner. Oops sorry-strike that. I meant to say “where bone-chilling polar wind blasts attempt to topple you over while freezing exposed skin, all the while causing you to question your ability to make rational decisions for yourself.” It then heads to the State forest before turning back east, ending at the Oak Bluffs School where runners are provided with clam chowder, entertainment,warm showers and Congressional Medals of Freedom for having the tenacity to finish this race (last part-not true, but should be). Think you’re tuff enough? This year’s 20 Miler is happening Saturday, Feb 17 and it’s looking like the weather will be dry with temps in the upper 20’s. If I haven’t lost you yet and you really think this sounds like fun, Check it out here.
Seafood in Winter?? Yes!
While the bass and blues have migrated south, the Vineyard’s fisheries are still active, providing us with delicious bounty. October marks the start of the bay scallop season. Bay scallops are found in Northeast ocean ponds and are much smaller and sweeter than their ocean counterparts. It’s a hit or miss fishery that’s hard to predict. In some years, the ponds are teeming with them while the next can see them all but disappear. And that will differ from pond to pond. This is a good year for scallops on the Vineyard and we expect the season to last into March. Fun fact-scallops can’t be harvested when the temperature dips below 28 degrees because they freeze and die.
Another winter shellfish we adore is the oyster. The southern ponds on the island are where you’ll find the best wild oysters. But we have a lot of oyster “farmers” who grow some of the best tasting oysters around. Oysters taste best this time of year and are nice and plump. This weekend, we’ll be celebrating the winter oyster at “Romancing the Oyster”-a tasting cocktail party at the Harborview Hotel. They’ll be serving oysters from half a dozen MV farms prepared a number of different ways. Fun fact-Oysters can live to be 100 years old.
“So What’s It Like To Live There in Winter”
We get this one all the time when taking reservations over the winter. Folks have a curiosity about life here as if it were dramatically different than the rest of the country, which makes us chuckle. After all, it’s not like we’re homesteading on the Aluetian islands. The Steamship still runs all day, the electricity stays on (as does the cable tv), supermarkets are fully stocked and many restaurants/shops are open all year. It’s similar to most small towns except we can only drive a maximum of 23 miles in one direction before we have to turn around.
There’s an HGTV show about moving to an island and has featured MV a few times. When going to commercial, they offer up a little trivia about the island they are featuring. According to them, in winter, MV islanders like to whale watch and go pond skating. Clearly the person who gave them that info was punking them. Watching paint dry would be a more productive use of time here since whale sighting from shore are extremely rare. And pond skaters better be wearing a speedo. We generally don’t have the long periods of freezing weather that would make that sport possible.
So what do we do? We are great entertainers. Dinner parties and pot lucks give us a chance to catch up with friends we might not see when the ‘season’ rolls around. The Barn is packed all week long with league bowling. Since they’ve opened, we’ve cultivated some pretty great bowlers. There are phenominal restaurant deals that are well worth braving the cold winter winds for. Hiking in the woods provides a different experience in winter as views open up once the leaves are gone. We go to the gym and participate in sports both familiar and unique (fencing anyone?). And since most of us are working non-stop over the summer, winter sees many of us vacationing in warmer climates.
As you can see, we’re not so different. In fact, most people will who live here will tell you they enjoy the slower pace of Vineyard winters. And while island living has its share of inconveniences, (like finding a normal pair of socks to purchase-seriously!) you rarely hear a resident say they’d rather live anywhere else.
A woman making a reservation last year seemed to be surprised that people actually stay here over the winter. With 6 towns and 15,000 year-round residents, we can confirm that they do not roll up the sidewalks after Columbus day! So what do we do here? Lots of things. The biggest activity is construction. With the summer crowds gone, repairs and remodeling take center stage and that’s true at Edgartown Commons. This year we replaced the hot water boiler in the Schoolhouse building, put new shingling on units 19-21 and a new roof on the Pool restroom/unit 36 building. Lots of owners are doing improvements to their units as well. It’s all part of our multi-year plan to ensure our guests have a wonderful experience while staying with us.